After discovering the Prosecution demands an effective prison sentence of three years for Mr. Fabre, I feel obligated to tell my story about Troubleyn / Jan Fabre.
To whom? I don’t know. Will it change anything? I don’t know.
The only thing I know is this: I have a story – a different story.
And I know I want to tell it.
In 2012 I started to work in Troubleyn, with Jan Fabre.
The time I spent with this company are among the best moments of my life, as an artist and as a human.
If I had to choose one word to describe this time, it would be: “Extraordinary”.
Meaning: Out of the ordinary.
If I were to try and describe to someone who had never experienced a similar creative endeavor (friends, family and so on) on a normal day of work in Troubleyn, for instance during the creation of Mount Olympus 24h, this person would probably think that both myself and my colleagues are utterly insane, deranged, demented. If that person then had to choose a word to describe it, it would probably be ‘Crazy’
Yes, I would say, in some ways it is true. But look (and simple research on Google is enough) at the synonymous of the word “Crazy”, you also have: Passionate, Excited, Enamored of… and here we are. Love.
I think, if you want to understand what Troubleyn is about, you should consider that it was formed by people who are ‘Crazy in Love’. With no exception, in my opinion, all the people who have joined the company are driven by a deep desire, a great passion, everybody with their own story.
One thing is for sure: No one ever arrived on that stage by chance.
At the entrance of the Troubleyn theatre there is a plaque on the floor with the inscription:
“Every step I have taken in my life has led me here, now.”, an artwork by Alberto Garutti.
When you cross that plaque to enter the Theatre, no matter where you come from, how much experience you have, which language you speak, you know exactly what you are doing.
Now, what happened inside that Theatre?
The best answer to this is to watch one of the hundreds of shows that have been created there. You will be surprised, above all, by the commitment of all the performers. This commitment, coming from that great desire in each performer, the desire to be there on that stage, seen by you, it is what made them shine. It is what made this company’s shows so successful: the performers’ love for their work, which was equal to that of the director
towards his performers.
In 2018 an open letter accusing Mr Fabre came out.
In the letter, Jan was depicted as a monster who hates, humiliates, bullies, and sexually harasses his performers. After this, a huge wave of social, emotional, and political violence hit the entire company.
Shows were sabotaged and cancelled everywhere. People, who were considered talented performers just a few weeks before, were told to delete their Troubleyn experience from their CV if they wanted to get new jobs or subsidies for their own projects.
Programmers, Theater directors, Commissions. They all became law-bringers, the avengers of the “truth”.
A sad smell of hypocrisy invaded the sector, together with this nonsense, trivial, petty idea that (assuming it is true) you must repay violence with violence, discrimination with discrimination and so on.
And all this for which “Truth”?
When people divide reality in two colors, black and white. When people only feel
comfortable if they know who are “the bad ones” and who are “the good ones”. When people assume, taking one story for another, mix different facts, and analyse reality by taking shortcuts. When scared people stop to seeing the human and start only to see principles, rules, laws – they always arrive at dangerous conclusions.
Simplistic, stiff, superficial, stupid, and dangerous conclusions.
Shortcuts. Simple answers, to complex questions. To be sure that THEY are standing on the RIGHT SIDE of the story, on the right side of JUSTICE, that they are not involved with dirtiness and that their underpants are scented and clean… They reduce 40 years of work, 63 years of a man, hundreds of people’s experiences in the company into one phrase.
One, crystal clear, label.
In a beautiful, perfect, irresistible pre-packaged idea.
A pre-packaged idea that is ready to use. There is no need to think further, no need to investigate, no need to use their brain.
The pre-packaged idea is a wonderful, perfect, comfortable thought. Why change it?
Very difficult, indeed, to accept that the world is not in black and white.
While Mr Fabre was described as a monster and his company was depicted like a toxic environment, we wondered how far all this could go.
We, the “toxic ones” that until yesterday were loved by the same people that now attack us, wondering, asking: “Wait a minute, is this real?”
A lot of people know the company, and a lot of people know Jan Fabre.
Suddenly, not one of them remembers the beauty they experienced?
No one willing to raise a finger and say:
“Excuse me, but this so-called “truth” is not mine.”
“Excuse me, but this is a completely distorted version of facts and reality.”
“Excuse me, but you are taking facts and words completely out of context to prove something that does not reflect reality.”
As everybody can imagine, it is tough to defend somebody who is already labelled by the
media and the entire sector as a monster.
So why have some people described him in such terms?
I know some of the people who signed the open letter. They were friends, colleagues, lovers. I never would have thought that I would see the day, reading those words and seeing myself writing these ones. During these past 4 years, I often thought that some of these people were completely brainwashed.
I know personally that several girls and company members were repeatedly called to testify against Fabre. Some of them refused to do so, some of them accepted and signed the letter, and at the same time, they said they never expected the case could grow to such
They have a different story.
At this point, I would like to say that everybody should be heard, everybody has their feelings, and maybe some truly felt hurt by Jan Fabre.
Yet I also need to say that I think this went too far, and completely out of control, yes. The very people who started the process by signing the letter, I have the impression, lost control.
And by the way, who knows who wrote this letter!
Since this is MY story, I will write it and I will sign it. Instead that letter was signed by people whose name is, for most part, anonymous. I am weighing every single word I am writing.
Who weighs theirs?
What are the facts? What truly happened?
In my 10 years of experience with Troubleyn, there is no single objective fact, that justifies bringing a man in front of the court and requesting such a punishment.
Finally, the fact that I do not regard Mr Fabre’s behaviour as inappropriate, while other people do, does not make me a liar. It makes me a person with a different point of view. It is pointless to say that Mr Fabre, as every human being, has his flaws and dark sides. The only objective fact, concerning all the episodes of which I am aware, is this:
Mr Fabre has never deliberately harmed anyone. The fact that his way of being (or that of anyone else) can be perceived by somebody as disgraceful, is a question of individual
cultural, social and political context. This fact cannot, for me, be the subject of such violent and vicious accusation. We are faced with a total disproportion of circumstance. To what extent is it possible to incriminate, accuse, and vilify a person for his character, way of being, and expressing himself?
To imagine 3 years of prison as a punishment, for Jan Fabre, is simply shocking for a lot of people. This story seemed suddenly completely detached from reality.
I decided to take the words used by the media to accuse Jan and determine their meaning. Here I share the results of my, albeit small, research:
‘Transgressive behaviour’: from Latin “Trans” – across, beyond – “Gradi” – to walk, to go.
‘Trangressus’: step across, step over; climb over, pass, go beyond.
‘Harassment’: a feeling of intense annoyance caused by being tormented / the act of tormenting by continued attacks and criticism.
‘Racist’: discriminatory on the base of race or religion.
‘Indecent’: from Latin “Indecentem” – not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper in polite society.
‘Assault’: to attack someone physically or emotionally.
‘Indecent Assault’: sexual assault that does not involve rape.
Source: Ethimology Dictionary of Modern English/ Oxford language
So, here we are: 3 years, 1095 days locked in prison.
This is what prosecution demands.
I do not agree with any of these accusations!
Moreover, there is a huge disproportion between the words analysed above and the requested punishment.
To end my story, I would like to express a wish: that all my ex-colleagues, friends, lovers may find their own peace and serenity. The little I know about life, I do know this: they will not find it there, not in revenge, not in splitting the world into black and white, because the world is made in colour.
And one thing is for sure: it will remain in colour.